With close to 14,000 rare stamps on display, the Philatelic Congress of India aims to bring philately to the youth.
Much like how a picture tells a story worth a thousand words, a stamp can take you back to times only known about from history books. Any philatelist (stamp enthusiast) will tell you that the story originating from a stamp is magical, and the Philatelic Congress of India (PCI) is making these stories accessible to the common man. The third instalment of INPEX will have thousands of rare stamps on display, coming from various eras of history.
INPEX 2019 will not only look at history through a unique lens, but aims to encourage the hobby of philately among the youth. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, PCI member Ramu MS says, “‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn'. Philately is all about the involvement of the individual and the youth. Every stamp, besides telling a story, is a great way of learning history,” says Ramu, who has been collecting stamps for 30 years with a special interest in Mysore Anche, 1854 Half Anna lithographs, Rocket Mails of India and Literature on Indian Philately.
Segregated by subjects like Postal History, Aerophilately, Traditional Philately, Thematic Philately and Youth philately, the four-day exhibition starting today will have around 250 philatelics from across the country participating.
“There are 900 frames, each frame with 16 pages with 10-12 stamps on each page. So there are close to 14,000 stamps to look, admire, and learn the history of. This exhibition is going to be a philatelist’s dream come true,” shares the philatelist, who is putting his Rocket Mail of India stamp collection on display.
Also on display are stamps from the pre-stamp era from 1770, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp — Penny Black — used in a public postal system, the first stamp of Asia, British India stamp from 1854, the first airmail stamp of 1930, and an expensive lot from the Royal collection. With every subject conveyed through stamps, PCI aims to promote it as a sport too. Speaking about philately as hobby and as a sport, Ramu explains that stamp collection is the perfect mix of fun and informative. “The hobby in itself is very educative. We are showcasing stamps on every subject, even sports. So if you are cyclist, we have stamps on cycling, even on football, cricket, Olympics and Asian Games. You name the sport, and we have the stamp on display,” states the philatelist, adding, “It is creative, and the scientific learning from this hobby is very high. You develop focus and concentration.”
Apart from the exhibits and seminars on philately, for an extra twist to pique the youth's interest, the event comprises a youth arena with fun activities like letter writing and folding, wherein one gets to write a letter on philately as a theme and will be taught how letters were folded in the olden days. One can also find a treasure hunt making children identify stamps and learn some philately basics like soaking stamps, watermark detection, and mounting.
“We have a youth arena where they will learn more about the stamps. We have kept postcards, replicas of postcards, and letters from old Mumbai. We also have a bank of stamps from which they will get a stamp as a return gift,”concludes Ramu with a smile.
— At World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade